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Options Recommmended By ODY Teachers are:
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We are One is Open Door Yoga’s “charity”. Currently ODY gives 1% of its profits to We are One which then gives it back to the community or to others in need.

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Part 3: Janaki Weitzel’s Experience of Ashram Living and Teaching, by Maya Lee

Maya: During your fourteen month trip you visted ashrams in India, Europe and North America. What kind of variations and similarities did you find at life in the different ashrams?

Janaki: Each ashram was very similar to the next. It was like dropping into a planet, as you dropped into the same rhythm and intention as you traveled from country to country. There was a flavour difference, and it was very evident that each country has a personality. The idea was that we stayed in the ashram and did the practice. Stepping out of the ashram you really felt the personality of  each country. France, England, India, Eastern Canada, The United states. It becomes evident through intuition. So it’s not something you have to leave the ashram to experience. Every time I left the ashram it was like doing an anthropological sociological study. Like I was visiting a new planet and I was learning about the society I was traveling into. So those traits that Caroline Myss discusses in her book Sacred Contracts, are evident in the different countries. Some emphasize the victim, some emphasis the rebel kind of personality. It just reflects itself in each country as if it were a human being. The ashrams are very international in flavour. People are coming from everywhere. There is a big emphasis on international religion, international speaking. Many religions are taught and learned. It is like a little United Nations and teachers come to teach Sufism and to teach about Buddhism, to teach Islam. There are all of these instructions and teachings shared on a workshop basis. Religion is just a way of realigning with the divine source. Religion is just a code for humanity to go to, to learn to be a good person. That’s the core of all religions. Mostly it’s regional. It started out regional. It’s a way for people to tell each other how to live a good moral life. The codes of nature are listed in religion. One thing someone learns by studying them all is they are very similar, so connected, and so here the yogi understands that.

Maya: Can you tell us about the outside culture coming in to your ashram experience. The flavours of personalities of the various countries?

Janaki: I felt that the British thinking expressed a sense of things not being quite right. There is a sense of pointing out what’s not quite right but really not doing much about it. With this thinking of seeking out problems it makes them good at engineering, good at working out what’s not going to work.

With France their joy of life philosophy is about living life and not worrying about what goes wrong. It is more about living life to live it. So it really irritates the British because they really want to fix things that go wrong, and they are always fussing about what is going wrong.

In India we were traveling in the north and there were horrendous rainstorms. The weather changes in India, and they get a lot more flooding and raining during the monsoon than they use to. Our journey was cut short because we couldn’t travel due to landslides. If it was in North America roads would be shut down for 20k at least on either side and no one could go in. In India someone would hire a truck to get right into the landslide, as far in as possible, then the Indians would hop out with their bags to get to the other side of the landslide where the road started again. Trucks wait at the other side,. They also run across by foot.

Here we have a lot of fear around our safety conscious life in North America. In India people do what they’ve got to do. Secondly someone would find a bulldozer and somehow it would make its way up the landslide, and someone slowly over the next few days would slowly clear the highway to make a dirt road wide enough for one vehicle. This dirt road would be called the highway again. So India does just enough to carry on. If it was North America it would have to be completely paved, back to normal for roads to be open again. But in India it’s a dirt track so people can get through and no one’s complaining. And nobody usually dies, and nobody is worried about safety because everyone understands the will of the way things should be. If someone dies it’s the way it should be, their karma.

Maya: When you return from a trip such as this what is your experience of reengaging with  Vancouver life like, and what kind of new observations did you make in regard to culture differences?

Janaki: When I go away on a long journey and I return to Vancouver, each time I have a chance to see life in the western world, North America specifically, a little differently.

It wakens me up to the paradigm, the formula that we are actually living in. When I first went to India what was white there was black here and vice versa. Extreme differences. Then slowly each visit I melted more into eastern culture so when I am back in the western culture I am in it but not so much part of it.  Witnessing observations rather than goal setting and doing, manifesting. There was a lot of that before. I did have my manifestation years which are behind me now. I did a lot, improved a lot, until the late 90s. Now it’s more about calling the universe and waiting for the universe to show me the way.

It’s not our fault that we are taught from a very young age about manifesting, working to be the best we are and break through barriers sometimes and change the world. If its possible, we westerners feel we can change the world. Many westerners look for something that couldn’t change. They’re seeking in their periscopes, their monocle, they’re looking for what can be changed, what’s wrong. With the Indian perspective life happens the way it’s suppose to happen. It’s happening the way it should be and the duty of the citizen, the human being is to accept what is coming in to their life and be centered in that and accept that. If it’s hardship to look for the lesson. Because our karma we bring is part of the reason we are here. To learn the karma we are bringing into this life and live the life we are given. And then be a good person, accept the karma and still stay on that mark and be that good person whatever comes to you.

The Indian citizen can be in a tsunami disaster and they just do whatever they have to do to get back on course. But there is no wailing or crying of the victim mentality. This time it really showed itself on my return to Vancouver, how much the humanity in North America dwell on this victim mentality. This time when I returned I was on the bus and I noticed worry on people’s faces, and the sense of not being supported medically, financially, those basics of life. Getting food, shelter. This sixth sense just came up and showed me this beautiful paradigm, glowing and sparkling of creativity, but the underbelly has this sense of lack of foundation. And part of that can be because the god is money in the western world. People do everything they can to make money. So getting up in the morning, it is all about getting the money in order to live. So I feel the money is a hungry dragon, it just eats and eats and eats, as much as you go towards the money lifestyle of making money. It’s an endless eating machine, eating more money eating more money and it goes on to infinity. If people can turn and look towards nature and divine connection to nature the money will come, it will just appear as needed.

This time coming back to Vancouver I really noticed this drive for getting more, buying more things. It is a lifestyle for many, many people. Those without money are heavy with burden. Whereby I feel that going and being in India those without these comforts are living glowing lives, their faces are glowing, they have family. In India family stays with family. It stays and layers itself on itself. In North America people leave home at 17, 18 yrs old, and that family is often at a distance. Sometimes kids travel as far as they can to be away from the family. We’re taught to be on a departure from family. In India they stay with family and build on it. Grandparents are with grandkids. The values and responsibilities, the moral values stay within the family and the children learn from the elders, and the elders are respected.

Maya: What is your experience of yoga that you could convey as inspiration for someone just coming to yoga, or who is considering becoming a yoga student?

Janaki: Creativity flows through when one stills the mind with meditation through yoga. The creativity flows in. It’s just waiting. This is the prana that people see when that particular person is walking down the street. This is doing the practice of yoga, not just assanas but the whole practice. The meditation, the toning, the way of thinking, a positive way of thinking, the connection to the divine, and to nature, dialoging with nature, all of this creates a being with such prana and energy.  People unknowingly are attracted to this energy. It’s a gift that a yogi can give to others by doing the work because they then are like a billboard of the results of the work.  It’s the journey of opening up the energy centres. It’s the journey of opening up the emotions. When they go deeper and deeper this opens up their energy records and energy centres and they’re able to emotionally cleanse, to become that person that can withstand all events in their life. Wonderful good ones or challenges. If we do the yoga it opens us up. If we are flexible in our hips we are flexible in our lives. This is where yoga therapy takes it away from physical activity and goes deeper and deeper into the tissues to heal, opening up the flowers of our holding patterns, and the person becomes lighter and lighter.

Thank you Janaki!

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Part 2: Janaki Weitzel’s Experience of Ashram Living and Teaching, by Maya Lee

“I focus on the rhythms of nature and what has been created here before humans arrived, that rhythm. And if we can hook into that rhythm and with gratitude see what a beautiful thing it is, then once we become grateful for the little things that nature provides us, this gratitude can lend itself to everything in someone’s life. And there are no more needs, wants and desires. Because things that are necessary come before desire arises and we call this serendipity, rock star parking. And really it is nature working and showing us that if we just live and work on being a good person with good moral values, and do good things, think positive thoughts and be grateful for everything we have in this particular moment, then all that is necessary will flow in the direction of the person with those kinds of thoughts. And creativity flows through when one stills the mind with meditation through yoga”. Janaki

Maya: What is the daily schedule at the different ashrams you visited, and how is yoga and daily life experienced differently within the ashram setting compared to outside of an ashram setting?

Janaki: The routine is the same everywhere. You wake up at 5.30am, meditation is at 6am, 8 am is asanas, and then 10am is brunch, 11am karma yoga, 12pm there are classes, 2pm philosophy class, 4pm more asanas, 6pm dinner, 8pm meditation. They are all facets of the total package of yoga. Teaching and living in an ashram you’re focused on how yoga can support your life. What’s left out of the equation is wondering where the food is, where you’re sleeping. Wondering if there is any income. Because all of this is taken care of. What happens from living in an ashram is your practice gets deeper automatically.

Living in an ashram the energy is incredibly high. So for instance if someone arrives at the ashram who tends to be fiery in nature and argumentative in nature, or a real go getter in nature, this will amplify in the ashram, because of the high energy. If someone is shy it will amplify in the ashram, because of the high energy. So if anyone is carrying traits that are unbecoming to a human this will amplify, and they end up living with these traits in a more pronounced way. There are teachers, many teachers out there in the ashram who can keep an eye on the yogis and counsel and guide them through any hiccups and challenges. So anybody coming to the ashram be it a teacher or staff member or visiting student or traveling yogi, whether they notice it or not their personality traits, what makes them individual, will amplify. And some will stay because they are intrigued by this, what they are witnessing of themselves. Others will fall because they are uncomfortable with what they see of themselves. So my personal practice, my whole practice, is amplified by the energy of the ashram. I have the time to do more practice because I don’t have to put any attention to the basics of my life because its looked after. And my spiritual side is supported by the monks and priests in the ashram. So the karma one receives comes in more intensely. Karmic experiences increase within the ashram, so someone can do the work. As a teacher I can do my personal work effortlessly because the karma is coming and coming and coming and the senior staff and directors are there to teach all the teachers a little bit about themselves. And so it’s a great symbiosis because we are teaching but we are also learning about all the divine knowledge, and we are working on ourselves. At times it can be so challenging that it is hard not to walk out the door. But if someone perseveres and stays and just keeps witnessing and just accepting this is the journey, and they are just a human being, being a human, their experience becomes golden.

Maya: What kind of personality traits did you personally experience encountering and addressing, and could you please describe the process of dealing with amplified aspects of yourself?

Janaki: There are two particular personality traits that can arise, that would be relevant for many people. There is a book by Caroline Myss called Sacred contracts. Caroline describes the many archetypes of personality traits that we carry, and discusses that some of it is our prarabdha karma that we bring with us this time. Our DVD that we bring with us that has what we are suppose to learn in this life. Caroline Myss describes all of these possible personality traits that have arisen from the prarabdha karma. People that are rebels in this ashram setting, they have been a rebel from a previous life. They have brought this lesson in from a previous life to learn not to be a rebel, because we want to learn to be a good person and these personality traits are things we need to clean up. So they’ll surely show the rebel personality when their buttons are being pushed in the ashram life, on the teacher level and student level. What is curious is what does that rebel do when challenged? If guided through by counseling and coaching they’ll see what they are carrying and learn to witness it, and once witnessed it the rebel will cease to exist, it will diminish. Another example is the victim personality. This is another good example of a personality that shows itself. We for instance at the ashram experience this whenever there is a teacher training. When it becomes too hard, too difficult to learn something. Even to be challenged to take a zip line up at Capilano, the rebel or the victim arises. Once one is challenged the idea is rather than playing out the drama of the victim or of rebel etc. the idea is to be taught how to witness ones personality. And once they’re being observed with the knowledge of yoga together with the observation then the cleansing begins and the rebel starts becoming diminished. It heals itself, the victim heals itself and the yogi becomes whole. Because those karmas that they bring are now being healed. The lesson has been learned and then the person becomes lighter. And as you might see in people who do the work their demeanor is light because they are not carrying the burden of these karmas. So the ashram setting with its high energies and the teachers and the program intensify one’s journey into seeing their true self. And what comes out at the other end is closer to true self. What we are all here for. Why we come here to this plane, is to find our true self and not the other selves that we have brought through from other lives, the other personalities we have had.

Maya: How did you get through the pain of all you were confronted with at the ashram?

Janaki: I did two things. I’d run to the deity temple and chant. Because I could have the most difficult and exhausting day and I would go in and chant with a group for 40 minutes. I could feel my whole day melting as I’m toning every cell by chanting. That vibration would vibrate every cell back to its peacefulness. I’m so grateful to have had that every night. And two, I would run to the library and pick one book off the shelf that was a teaching of senior swamis. I would randomly open it up and read what they were writing about, and low and behold there was the answer. And I’d sigh a big sigh, everything was okay. There was some magic happening there. In the outside world we call up a friend and listen to their voice. When we don’t have that in the ashram, you run to a book of teaching. Instead of doing a lateral connection, you’re doing a vertical connection up to a greater source to those who are always looking. They’re always looking and thinking will Janaki just call us and ask us to help her out, all she has to do is ask.

Maya: Did you make some profound connections with people, anyone or a few in particular who you’d like to discuss, that were key to your learning or teaching in some way?

Janaki: The one being I connected with at the ashram was in a temple to the divine mother and all female deities. That was what the temple was dedicated to. Every day the temple doors would open in the morning and they would address the divine mother. They worshiped her every morning and chanted every evening. In that place the energy was particularly high. So my biggest connection while I was away was with the female divine energy at the temple. I would go every day twice a day, and the communication that was there guided me every day. There was a real conversation going on. That’s one of the things I miss. It was also something I was attracted to in previous visits to this ashram but my evolution wasn’t at that level. I was attracted to it but did not spend more time. This time I vowed I’d spend more time, and learn the chant. This great long 40 minute chant we do. And by doing this I made a connection happen, and that was perfect, that was amazing, the conversation that was going on with the female divine energy, at the Devi temple.

Part 3 of Janaki’s interview to follow 🙂

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Janaki Weitzel’s Experience of Ashram Living and Teaching, by Maya Lee

Janaki Weitzel, an Open Door Yoga teacher had just returned from a fourteen month trip teaching yoga in ashrams in India, Europe and Eastern Canada when we met for our interview. The hours flew by and I couldn’t get enough of our time together, delaying my dinner date after the third hour. ‘Just one more question’ I would say, and then that question would lead to another and to another. It was hard to conclude our time together and to stop asking questions!

From my time with Janaki a part of our conversation that struck me significantly and had a far reaching effect on my life immediately after our interview, was the idea of being informed by nature, tuning in and listening and moving according to nature’s will rather than continually imposing one’s own will on life. Accepting nature’s flow to take us where it intends, being where nature intends us to be, to succumb to that, to respect where we are, to be in the flow of nature’s way of positioning us rather than fight to position ourselves. Ideas of visualizing the future that we want to manifest and using will power have been a big part of my life for some years. Definitely useful at times, but getting caught up in feeling it is us that primarily have this level of control and responsibility for our lives can be a little stressful too. The idea of being in the tide of nature with our simple intentions made clear rather than trying to control the tide of life itself, was an incredible release to me, and my actions around this were responded to by many pleasant responses from others in my life. Which made situations I had been trying to control take on much more of a peaceful and natural flow where easier solutions were found.

Janaki at one time brought up the acceptance of people in India of the life they have, that whatever gloomy elements their lives may entail they accept their life as it is and this brings a kind of peace that we in the west struggle to achieve. I was in India once some years ago and was struck by this same thing. The bright shiny happy eyes of the limbless dirty people in the streets of Delhi. The joy it seemed the poor people sleeping on the side of the road out of town seemed to move around with, spritely steps, holding hands, swinging their hands, looking at each other beaming and laughing. At the time I thought of our lives in the west, how we always understand we can make something more of our lives materially, that the opportunities are there, but if we didn’t think there was much hope for achieving anything more than what we already have perhaps we would know more peace too. Perhaps if we could just accept our lives as they are and allow nature to progress us through our lives at nature’s will rather than continually imposing our own will, then perhaps this could bring about inner peace. For the weeks after my interview with Janaki I explored this concept and I was the extremely grateful recipient of a new peace that I began to experience. Although continually I have to keep reminding myself of this kind of acceptance, to keep bringing the peace back when I lose it. A doorway to increased peace has opened up for me since this interview. Janaki is a very magical being with a strong link as an educator to the source of life itself, and I have been in utter awe of my experience with her since interviewing her.

Maya: Can you tell us about ashram living, what is it about the experience that draws people to it?

Janaki: In India it was so beautiful to see five hundred people in the ashram all focused on doing this exploration, what is life? The big questions. Why are we here? And this just creates this platform of open discussions. There are little tea bars, and the conversations are stellar, they are amazing, and you get to meet other people thinking the same things. The energy and the prana is way up there because everyone is exploring. They have left their life to travel and to explore, so everyone has this sense of enquiry. They want to learn something new in their life. They have all thought “I want to go to an ashram and leave this outside world, and do some self discovery”. You find people that go there are in between two phases in their life. They have just finished a job or a relationship and they’re searching, and they come to the ashram to create, to be in a still place, a nurturing place, so they can ask those questions, and the energy is very high and the karma flies. If there is a quest that someone has all they have to do is put it out there and all starts falling into place. The quest starts happening because of the ashram, the high level of energy.
Another observation I had when I was at the ashram, was that students in general are now asking the next question to represents the next step of evolution of humanity. A lot are asking what is meditation? Teach me meditation. Which indicates on a humanity level the general population is experienced enough in their physical asana, and now the logical next step after getting use to the asanas, is that the student starts asking questions like why am I here? who am I? What am I really doing on this planet? And what is this meditation all about? It’s a natural progression that humanity is starting to ask this. It used to be just about the asanas.

I would teach the meditation class in south India every second day and there were fifteen to twenty people every day to learn about meditation, and there wasn’t that many before. So I started asking why are you here in the ashram? And half would say “I’m here to learn to meditate.” They didn’t say I’m here to learn to do asanas. So it’s very cool.

Maya: How does life compare now with before you began to practice yoga?

Janaki: Yoga changed my life. Before I used will and ego to manifest in life successfully in the material world. I was considered successful. I ran a successful commercial photography business and made relevant marks in the industry but I was doing it through ego and will, and the majority of this will was “it will happen, I will do.” One day I was on an assignment in New Mexico and I had this revelation that for me to go any further in my business I had to step back from the doing and go back to my artistic side that I had left it in order to do the business of running the photography. As soon as I put out the question to understand the artist side again, yoga stepped right in and I immediately connected with it. As I got more connected with the yoga I could see how much my photography business was run based on will, and that’s like a building ready to crumble, because it can’t keep living on just will. There has to be more foundation. It became a quest for my true self, because my true self was being hidden by all of the will. Yoga started showing me how much will I was using to how much I was forcing things to happen. Which is not unusual out there, this is how things develop. So this is the journey that yoga got me started on, and eventually yoga became more my life and the photography started diminishing in its importance. As yoga increased my focus of attention was less on the business of photography and more on the artistic part, which came through naturally. My quest of finding my artistic side came through yoga, and the sheer joy of taking photos came through yoga. Yoga was teaching me to focus on my right side brain rather than left side, how to shoot better and let the creative juice flow. You hear about writers block but sometimes it was the shooting block, because the left side brain was being used so much to manifest in the material world, that the right brain was being diminished, the intuitive side. Now I live more in my intuitive side, than my left brain action.

My photography is more creative now, there is a more natural flow of creativity, more joy in the outcome of the photography, the light, the way I see things, is more of joy and happiness. It naturally comes, and there is a lot more giggling, than there use to be when I was manifesting. Manifesting is not a bad thing, it’s a phase of anyone’s life who wants to make things happen. There needs to be a little of the left brain working, but we also have to make sure the right brain, the intuitive side, is nurtured and that we do the personal practice, yoga practice to allow the intuitive side of our brain to help us go through life rather than the left side.

Part two of Janaki’s interview will be blogged next week.
For info on the ashram group Janaki visited and recommends please visit:

Janaki is teaching currently at Open Door Yoga’s Arbutus studio

– Mondays – Restorative/Yoga Therapy – 3:00-4:30PM -1.5 hrs
– Thursdays – Gentle Hatha Flow – 6:15-7:30PM – 1.25 hrs
– Thursdays – Restorative/Yoga Therapy – 8:00-9:15PM – 1.25 hrs

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Open Door Yoga Teacher Training Grads will soon be able to do their last Practicum in Kathmandu Nepal!! By Maya Lee


I had the great good fortune to have a wonderful conversation with Georgina Varveris, Open Door Yoga owner and teacher. Georgina talked about her fact finding mission to Shree Mangal School for misplaced children in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Maya: Could you speak a little about Open Door Yoga’s involvement with the school so far, and the students at the school. You have called this a school for misplaced children, what does that mean?

Georgina: There are seven hundred kids at the school. Most come from rural areas, where there is no access to education. Especially during the time China was occupying Tibet many kids were misplaced because they fled due to conflict. Many of the children now at the school come from conflict, or their parents sent them away to get an education, They were all somewhat orphaned without wanting to be. Parents saw sending their children away to school as a better avenue, a way to give them more of a chance at life. There are lots of complications why they are there, Most have lost family or are far away. There are no roads to the school, students walk miles for weeks to get to Kathmandu, the routes are dangerous, some places I would never trek myself.

Regarding our involvement so far; we have a student who we have been sponsoring for about eight years while she has been growing up. I haven’t seen her in person and I am excited to see her on my trip. We have been giving money for books and school supplies and have got to know the school well and the administrative staff. We have seen that what they do is phenomenal and we want to expand our connection with the school, and what we offer. I see it as a great way for open door yoga to grow more into the karmic branch of the organization, our charity We Are One.

Maya: You have called your trip a fact finding mission, what are the facts you are specifically interested in discovering, and how do these facts contribute to setting up Open Door Yoga’s new work at the school?

Georgina: We want to find out how best we can help, how we can empower the students by finding out more specifically what their needs are. We are looking to set up housing for the volunteers, and to set up the rooms where the classes will be taught for the teacher training. We are looking for the philosophy teacher that will suit the position. Really all the details of running this in Nepal from Visas to Accommodation to things I haven’t yet thought of.

Maya: What kind of plans do you have for Open Door Yoga’s presence at Shree Mangal school, in regard to empowering the students?

I want to bring yoga teachers from everywhere there, so they can teach or help at the school in various ways. Kids in the last grade, if they show an interest and ability in yoga can take the teacher training program for free. Many people don’t have jobs, most sustain themselves with small farms. There are close to no jobs, not enough work in Kathmandu. Tourism is the main industry. Yoga is huge in India but not many people go to Nepal for yoga . Although many people go to trek, and it would be an ideal opportunity to be able to learn yoga from a Nepalese.

We will begin with the teacher training graduates from Open Door, who will be invited to the school as an optional part of their course, an extra two weeks to go to Nepal to have this work experience where they will teach or volunteer helping with the school. One director is from Victoria, she has done some presentations for Open Door Yoga to get sponsors and info out, we have become close over the years. The kids love yoga, they are so amazing, so open, full of wonder and full of doubt as well, really ready to learn.

Maya: What brought you to teach yoga and inspired you to begin the work with this project, and why Nepal?

Georgina: I always knew I was a teacher. I knew when I was a little kid. I mean we are all teachers, we really are. I really got that in an intuitive way, it was a gut feeling, I realized it wasn’t me saying it from my head, being that serious, but there was part of the answer, something I wasn’t connecting to, to begin with.
I was teaching English and trekking through the Himalayas, on my way home I got to Nepal and had this very profound, connected moment, and I thought if I die now it’s okay. I had never made that connection with death before. I went back to my practice and through yoga practice and training a lot of things made sense. I never really put Nepal back into the picture until Hogan and I decided what Open Door Yoga was about, and our vision for We are One.

Maya: What can teachers interested in teaching and helping at the school expect, in regard to every day living? Could you talk a little about Nepalese culture, history and geography, some elements teachers would be living with that would be useful to know in advance. Certain instances that they need to be particularly aware of being respectful of cultural differences.

Georgina: The school practices a very yogic life style, there is mediation every day, everything is in balance, it’s a real balanced life style. They have their own Rinpoches and monks that come and do some training with the school. What better setting to live in, the middle path. India is different, it’s got crazy busy.

Teachers can expect to eat a vegetarian diet. Dahl Bhat is the main dish. This is lentils and rice three times a day, with some type of bread perhaps. Not a lot of variety in the food, which is really part of the experience. Not being able to gratify emotions and get all kinds of sensations with food, simply sustaining oneself with necessary nutrition.

Kathmandu is not at all like Delhi or Mumbai. You can’t get whatever you want, but you can in India. Kathmandu is a capital city but there is probably only 2 hours per day of power and it’s very sporadic. Kathmandu is very cut off because they have very limited access and very limited technology. They live without the use of things we are so use to, most obviously cars in Katmandu. Beyond taking the bus, maybe sitting on a roof, you mostly walk and walk and walk, you just keep walking, things are pretty slow.

Nepal is a combination of Buddhist and Hindi. It is a combination of the two pretty strong philosophies and cultures, I know more about Buddhism as it is more popular in the west, but I am not a Buddhist, I appreciate both cultures of these two cultures living together in Nepal . I have traveled so much and have experienced that in any country it is good to be sensitive to the way of life. In Nepal I have found you do need to be very respectful, it isn’t an all about me society. The individual isn’t the rule, the rule is more the community, and I see that as mostly being the case in East Asia. I see it in Thailand, in Taiwan, in Japan, Nepal, India. I mean there are aspects of India where it has got so crazy. In Nepal there are no rich people. I have seen that everybody is poor. In India you see a lot of rich people. To answer your question to be respectful of the culture, they live together with lots of different influences. Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian. I haven’t lived in Nepal enough to say I understand how they interact, but as a person from outside the country you would do well to instead of forcing your identity on people, take on the beginners mind, be accepting of what is going on, with doubt. Some of it has to change, there is error of the way everywhere, not just in north America.

Regarding women’s roles, it is strange to see a woman on her own, I don’t think of Nepal as dangerous, but it is peculiar for them to see a white woman trekking around, I wear a skirt over pants, I would sometimes wear my clothes like this when I came back to Canada before realizing I don’t need to wear this anymore. In regard to respecting parts of the culture, it surprises me when people come into a new culture and they are not getting it, why would people not see that… Maybe I understand in the way I do because I’ve traveled since I was a kid, But also I came here as a Greek kid who couldn’t speak English. It made me aware of other people’s needs. Ask any immigrant kid, we just want to fit in so badly, so we let go of our identity. There is good and bad in every way of being. There is also wanting to fit in because you’re insecure and you are in so much pain, and you don’t want to touch the pain, you just wanted to be accepted. I lived in Japan for seven years and I understood I was never going to be accepted in Japan, and eventually I couldn’t live in a culture where people were never going to accept me. But looking back it was a lesson for me to accept myself more. I wasn’t accepting myself and they were mirroring that to me. At some point in life self acceptance has to come from within.

To go to a country like Nepal, it’s an old culture, very traditional, we probably have to be more sensitive, and we are so young as a culture so we are not really rooted in any culture, we are still exploring that. Maybe give it back to the native Indians where it belongs some day because until we do that there will be this lack of being able to forgive ourselves for that. How can we live here when we have taken so much, and even those treaties that have been signed, I don’t know how many we have honoured. I’d like to talk to someone, to know, I think we’ve signed a lot but there isn’t a lot of happy or real resolve. We still have reserves, what the heck is that, we still have this separate way of treating each other.

I think if conflict hasn’t been resolved it hasn’t been resolved, we have got to come together and solve it or we are constantly going to be in chaos or strife. We are never going to be able to find peace within, if we don’t make awareness.

In regard to the political situation, Nepal had a royal family and still do, but they are not a ruling monarchy. There was a bit of a tyranny with the royal family. The Maoists came in and wanted more equality for the people. People were poor, the king and queen were super rich and controlled all the wealth, everyone lived these sub standard levels of life. Maoists took over but in a way that was so violent. They went into villages, took the kids to be part of the war, basically used the kids, kidnapped the kids, would take them to orphanages in Kathmandu and would get money for the kids. Most of who suffered were the kids. Some were given up by their parents who believed their children were going to get a better life. A lot of people were killed. It went on for a log time. Because it’s such an unimportant place, there’s no oil… nobody talked about it, nobody cared. People couldn’t get away with what happened there in a lot of other places in the world. Even in Africa there is a lot of awareness. This is a lot of what I hear, and that politically its much more stable now, they came to a truce.

Maya: Will you have a role in the day to day running of the school once it is set up, or is your role mainly in setting it up and appointing the best staff for the ongoing daily running of the school?

Georgina: I see more setting it up. I don’t see myself living there. Maybe in the beginning I will have to spend more time in Nepal, maybe living there on a semi permanent basis. Once it’s established I’ll be running it from Vancouver, but who knows. It’s nice to come home and eat chocolate. I haven’t been there for a long time. Fifteen years maybe. I know it’s changed a lot and you can get chocolate in Kathmandu now, but its hard. I plan to go to some rural areas. There’s just Dahl Bhat, you’re wearing everything in your back pack, no heating. Bring lots of warm clothes! The elevation is higher, oxygen is thinner, breathing can be hard, which means it is good to be healthy when you arrive.

Thank you Georgina!

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This Year’s Halloween Festivities, by Maya Lee

Pumpkin carving at Open Door Yoga!

This year I was taken by a friend to a modern day witches ritual called Spiral Dance. Run by the Vancouver branch of the Reclaiming Tradition – Witchcraft that is mostly the worshipping of nature and it’s cycles. For more info: http://reclaiming.org/
It was a very eventful night for me, we were led into a trance to meet our ancestors, where I received great advice from my dead father. We invoked the mighty dead and Jim Morrison let his presence be known to me. As a singer/songwriter this was very helpful and inspirational for me…
We welcomed the new borns and honoured the recent dead, names were read out. Beautiful chants were chanted, magical songs filled the air, and at the end of the rituals we joined hands for the Spiral Dance. You can see the San Francisco Bay Reclaiming group doing this dance via this youtube link, it’s quite something!


And Open Door Yoga had a pumpkin carving! Teacher Martina Bell talked to me about the gathering.

Maya: Could you talk a little about the pumpkin carving group, the idea behind it, and the intentions.

Martina: The pumpkin carving was held at the Venables space. The intention behind it was for us to connect socially and celebrate fall with this community event. There were 4 of us teachers who organized it, and we were joined by a few more teachers and their families as it lends itself to bring the little ones along which is why we had a pumpkin carving social last year as well.

Maya: What kind of variations were there in the carving? –

Martina: There were many classics like scary and smiley faced pumpkins. One of the pumpkins was quite a still life novelty: the front had been cut off so it ended up looking like a TV displaying a scary grave yard scene.

Maya: What was done with the inside of the pumpkins?

Martina: The insides of the pumpkins were meticulously separated from the seeds which some of us took home to roast.

Maya: Did you grow up with Halloween or have you only celebrated Halloween since you came to Canada? –

Martina: Growing up in Southern Germany I did not grow up with Halloween.

Maya: Is there an equivalent celebration around this time of year in your home town, and could you tell us a little about it if so?

Martina: In my family we honoured November 1st as All Saints Day, the day when the spirits of our loved ones return to their favourite places. It was common to put candles on window sills to make sure spirits would find their favourite places.

Maya: What ideas behind Halloween stick out to you the most, in regard to the historical elements that created this holiday, and in regard to the ways Halloween is celebrated.

Martina: I guess it’s more the philosophical element which sticks out most for me. The Tantric philosophy celebrates Halloween as the time when the veils between the worlds get thinner so we can see more. It is a time which reminds us to look at our darker sides to learn from them in order to create more light.

Maya: What was your favourite costume that you sighted this year?

Martina: Hogan dressed up as Harry Potter, and since he’s quite the whizz making cookies I think it suited him quite well.

Thank you Martina!

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Ingrid, Open Door Yoga teacher, describes her beautiful drum circle experience at the Open Door Yoga social this week

“Oh My God Ohm Higher Intelligence, oh,Universe, oh Prana, oh Qi! Oh Yes, Ohm Guna = Mother Drumbeat…!” or whatever is the intelligence of your heart you might want to address here – I just want to say that I was completely resurrected in body heart and mind after the most stunning drum-class we had with Sandi yesterday – sending out a huge Thank You to Sandi and to Open Door and the planners of this Social for having us enjoy this most life-giving and educational community event yesterday – it was not only inspiring for body and soul, but also a milestone for me to pick up my drum again and and even try to enroll in one of Sandi’s classes in the future, for she is truly a bright light, and,when she teaches one cannot but catch the flame of inspirational fire which runs through her beat, her singing voice and instructional details – which were so comprehensive dynamically packaged into so little time that I now feel ready to take those drum bits into the next drum circle, or even take my drum back to the bench by the beach and try to get the rhythm into “the dance of the hands”(Sandi). Thanks again for this session which ignited my soul, touched my heart and had every cell of my body tingle at the end.

thanks for inspired teaching!
thanks for co-drummers!
thanks for the circle!
thanks for life!

Peace and Snow-capped-Mountain-Sunday – is there a pose as such?


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Wendy Sexsmith, Artist Of The Open Door Yoga Murals Talks To Maya Lee

“My point is we have a lot of potential for intuitive intelligence and its depressing to our system to not engage with that, because it’s something that should be nurtured a little bit more in us but for some reason we don’t seem to think that is important. But it’s the place where harmony is created. It takes away from the idea that abundance is limited. The idea that if someone shines it means someone else is less shiny, the whole thinking of competition for resources, all the good stuff, when in fact it doesn’t have to be that way.” (Wendy Sexsmith)

Wendy Sexsmith painted the warm, fun, laughing buddha mural inside the Commercial Drive location of Open Door Yoga, and has been painting a beautiful outside mural at the same studio. I came to sit on the scaffolding with Wendy as she painted to chat to her and ask questions that many may have wondered as they’ve passed by Wendy in and out of yoga classes.

Maya: Where does your experience as a painter derive from, what kind of educational background do you have as an artist?

I learned to paint at Emily Carr where I did an Arts Degree. I began with drawing and began to paint in the second and third year. But I’ve been painting since I was born it feels. When I was young I use to make Christmas cards and get really enthusiastic. And when I would get upset I’d go into my room and draw. I took a political science degree, out of high school. It didn’t occur to me that art was an option. Nobody was really artistic in my family, and I got pressure to do the ‘right thing’. I knew something was wrong when I graduated. I was so depressed and I knew I’d never be able to do a 9-5, I had to get the hell out and find myself in Asia for four years. I started to relax, because I had a pretty intense life, and I started drawing on my own. It was more like a way to relax, kind of meditative I guess, and that’s how I got into it. I came back and within two or three months I was going to every life drawing class I could get to and it really took off. I had a passion and a natural talent for it. I had sort of figured that I was definitely not going to fit into the mould, as there was something terribly wrong with that. Then I went to Japan and thought well it’s all about the money, you have got to be independent in this world. So I tried to make as much money as possible, and I did. But I wanted to find something that was intrinsically valuable to me, not to do with money, something to fall back on of value to me. Within a year I was in Emily Carr, and for me it was like going to play school. It was awesome, I couldn’t believe my luck. What a fun thing to do at school! I was into everything, even the academic side too. A friend of mine, Justin and I would be at school every night until it closed. It was just pure love.

Maya: You talked a little previously about being drawn to using traditional iconography, and because of other businesses that share the outside space, such as the outreach medical centre, you didn’t feel free to do this. What kind of traditional iconography did you feel yourself drawn to using, and. are there similarities in the mural that you can see connect with this traditional iconography?

Wendy: I liked the idea of drawing a lot of buddhas and Ganeshas actually. Some of the teachers wanted a big Ganesha in the middle of the lotus, and I thought lets wait and ask permission a little later on during the painting. It would be nice to do something from the lotus, a dancing buddha, a tiger, a Ganesha, would all be nice. At first people from other businesses who share the car park were saying “how long are you going to be in the way”. They were sort of concerned that my painting of the mural was displacing people. But now everybody is all smiles and very kind. Something changed, I don’t know what happened. At first it was kind of a displacement but I think people like the change so they are a lot warmer now. People aren’t even parking in the parking lot near me anymore, I use to feel like I was getting totally boxed in, but now it’s like they’re making space for me.

Maya: You were saying that you started by roughly mapping out the space but it wasn’t too far into the drawing that it began to take on a life of its own. What was going on for you when you felt this transition, from careful planning and then feeling inspiration taking over?

Wendy: I sketched the painting out and it looked like an empty skeleton, and I thought “wow I’m going to need to make it a little bit more substantial…” It didn’t have a lot of stature, the lines were so thin. It’s kind of exciting when that happens because when I get to that place I have to let it happen organically. I had to just think about the lines, which part to make dark and fill in, the combination of thick and thin lines, how to make it look substantial and still interesting without having a formula. Because formula can make things quite static, so without a formula the work becomes more intuitive and it’s more enjoyable that way. I did the inside of the lotus at the top, and it’s probably been six different colours. I kept coming back and changing it, The colour it is now is the colour it will stay. It was so important to get the right colour. Sometimes it just happens, like the butterfly. That just started taking on its own life, with the wings and stuff. I started making it into a pattern as opposed to following a pre-sketched idea. That was the first day. While underneath I had a totally different drawing I could see these little swans coming out the side that weren’t in the original drawing at all. I was hoping no one would come up with a blueprint and say this is not what the drawing was, but it I knew it was better and would work out.

Maya: Could you talk a little about your choice to create quite different pieces of work for the inside mural and the outside mural.

Wendy: The inside was a no brainer, because I kind of approached the studio and showed some of my work, which was a lot of buddhas. So it was easier in a sense, and it didn’t take much to think it’s going to be happy buddhas, because it is a happy atmosphere. I didn’t want to make it too pretentious. I wanted it to be about the spirit of the studio. Even people who aren’t Buddhists have buddhas for good luck, so it was more of a happy good luck symbol. So because of the name Open Door I thought I’ll but them indoors and spread them out like a sequence. One time while I was painting the laughing buddhas during a class I kept hearing all this laughter in side and I thought that was kind of funny, cute.

Maya: You have said that when you are dealing with spatial relationships and making creative choices that because you are working mainly from the right side of the brain it is really meditative for you, as is yoga, especially when you find yourself really focusing to make your body do something that you haven’t considered possible before. And you were saying that you feel that like everyone you can daydream a lot while you are doing yoga and painting, but with the difference being that when you are painting your thoughts are almost exclusively positive which is not always the case when you are doing yoga. Could you talk a little about negative thoughts that come up in your yoga practice, how you address them, and some bliss you have experienced in your yoga practice.

Wendy: As soon as I notice negativity during my practice I address it. I realize I am increasing anxiety and I just stop. Sometimes it takes a while until I realize it’s happening, then all of a sudden I realize what I am doing and I change it. But when I’m in painting I’m in lala land. When you’re creative its one of those things, it’s just blissful. There is something about the process that means your mind is more occupied with the task, your mind is more engaged and it becomes more blissful. I absolutely love yoga, but when I’m painting I’m not aware of my body, you transcend your body altogether. It sounds romanticized but from when I was young painting has always been a way to bring back a blissful and more serene place. There is usually a language we are stuck in all the time and even in yoga instructions there is a language, but with creativity there is not the same kind of language involved. There is less programming. Something intuitive not loaded with baggage that we have acquired, a different kind of language of art takes over instead.

I think we have a lot of information. We have a lot of people who have incredible healing powers. Recently I met someone who can intuitively get knowledge from plants, not like they are having a conversation with him, but he does pick up something. Not language, but there is something intuitively he understands. My point is we have a lot of potential for intuitive intelligence and its depressing to our system to not engage with that, because it’s something that should be nurtured a little bit more in us but for some reason we don’t seem to think that is important. But it’s the place where harmony is created. It takes away from the idea that abundance is limited. The idea that if someone shines it means someone else is less shiny, the whole thinking of competition for resources, all the good stuff, when in fact it doesn’t have to be that way.

Maya: Do you find there is a specific message as a person with the life that you have lived, that you find yourself conveying through your art?

Wendy: If there is anything id like to convey it would be something about joy. I do a lot of different kinds of art but one thing that is the same is that I like to celebrate things and to convey joy or celebration, something positive. And sometimes its really humorous or cheeky and sometimes more serene. I feel that there is no time to not celebrate. I’m not really interested so much in making a critique about life through my painting, unless there is hopefulness in it. I feel that I would rather connect with a common higher sense that is like a more profound connection between people that is based on joy, celebration and abundance, as opposed to a criticism of how we are not doing things properly. People don’t’ get enough courage and hope that there is an alternative way of being. The whole conventional way of being has never worked for me and I find it very stressful. It would be very stressful to live in a world where there is finite possibility. I think joy kills sorrow and there is a lot more potential for things to be realized, and this comes about when people are relaxed and joyful and abundant. This change doesn’t happen when people are stressed. It doesn’t mean I don’t’ respect the work people do, it just isn’t for me.

One Facebook friend commented two things that I found inspiring. One comment was that there were one hundred thousand monks meditating for a better world, when people were protesting all over the world. I found that so much more inspiring than demonstrating. Because there were one hundred thousand monks whose intention was pure good, no conflict. There was now an alternative way of being, to be in a non conflictual situation praying for the human spirit, human happiness and a better life for all. There’s just no conflict there, and for some reason that speaks to me more than semi organized political rallies. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to a lot of them but somehow this speaks to me more. Another thing a friend said on Facebook is to occupy your heart. Exactly! Which is much more important, to cultivate that than to do anything else. Because if we were all connected that way there wouldn’t’ be any conflict. Because essentially when you’re connected through your heart to each other then it’s an absolute joy to watch abundance grow. It doesn’t have to be about a limited sense of abundance. Watching other people transcend something or celebrate, or even sharing that with other people, there isn’t a lot of happiness or joy better than that. One hundred bucks more in your bank account isn’t going to help you feel better than that. Also I think it breeds a lot of fear, creating everything in terms of monetary value. I do this mural and I’m getting paid nothing and I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing and I’m so grateful I get to do it all the time. It brings me a lot of joy. My bank account is doing fine too. I think things falls in to place when you’re doing the right thing. If you do things for the right reasons abundance just follows.

Thank you Wendy!

Photo by David Leitao

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Drishti Point Yoga Radio Talk Show: Alan Clements Feature

Drishti Point Yoga Radio Talk Show
Drishti Point is a yoga radio talk show that features interviews about yoga, dharma, truth, wisdom, and love.

Drishti Point airs every Monday from 5-6pm on CFRO 102.7 FM, and free podcasts are available on-line at: www.drishtipoint.ca.

This month’s guests include: Marie Manuchehri, Energy Intuitive and Reiki Master, Sherri Kajiwara of the Three Jewels Vancouver, Todd Caldecott, a Medicinal Herbalist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, and author of Food as Medicine, Pandit Premayaji of the MahaLakhmi Temple, and Alan Clements, former Buddhist monk, revolutionary satirist, author, artist, human rights activist, and retreat leader.

October Feature: Alan Clements

We need people who think way beyond here, way out of the box, way into tomorrow; the new now is the future.

In this incredible interview, Alan Clements, presents his new book, A Future to Believe In. He invites us to stay present and connected to what is happening now, to have compassion for the generations to come, and stop taking everything we have for granted.

Listen here: http://drishtipoint.ca/alan-clements-author-and-former-buddhist-monk/

Listen live or visit our website http://www.drishtipoint.ca/ for interviews that will inspire you to live fully awake in the present moment, to grow in wisdom and compassion, to open to love and devotion, and to be instruments to alleviate pain and suffering and Light the way for others to achieve ultimate freedom and happiness.

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Deanna Defrietas, a yoga student at Open Door Yoga and a Professional Counselor, discusses the releasing of energy and old patterns with a new awareness that she has been experiencing via a combination of yoga, BCS Therapy and IB Psychotherapy. Interview by Maya Lee

Deanna Defrietas is a yoga student at Open Door Yoga, and is also a professional counselor with knowledge of many therapies such as cognitive therapy and reality therapy, specializing in person centred therapy and Gestalt therapy. Deanna is now adding Integrative Body Psychotherapy to her tool belt, and has combined receiving this therapy, also Biodynamic Cranial Sacral therapy, with yoga classes recently. Deanna discusses the releasing of energy and old patterns with a new awareness that she has been experiencing via this combination.

First a little background in IBP and BCST: Integrative Body Psychotherapy is an experiential practice that enable clients to break through their old, somatically maintained dysfunctional behavior patterns by reawakening and establishing fully integrated states of well-being, constancy and sense of self in the body. This facilitates a transformation of consciousness at the core of their being.

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle and subtle whole body approach to the human experience. BCST works with our core, the core of our being. Physically BCST influences the central nervous system; brain and spinal column, as well as the fluid that bathes it. This fluid is called the cerebral spinal fluid.  Emotionally BCST can affect very deep and primary patterns, while providing you with resource and space to explore your emotional landscape. Spiritually- Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy can open doors to both hearts and soul, with the possibility of profoundly changing lives.

Maya: Could you talk about the big changes you have been aware of since recently combining Open Door Yoga classes with BCST and IBP?

Deanna: I went from feeling very disempowered in a difficult time in my life and feeling triggered at work to feeling large, very whole and large and being able to take control of my life, to empower myself to be the best possible person I could be at work, and everywhere else too, with my kids. A significant yoga class for me was laughing yoga. When I did laughing yoga something completely changed with that addition. Suddenly I was able to just let the child within be really playful and creative and move in and out of life with ease, like swimming through life, like dancing through life, playing with workmates, with my boss easily. Being able to laugh at little things like my children do. So Open Door Yoga was really imperative to keep the flow going, to keep myself open. Also the last yin yoga class I did I got to a place where I have never been able to breathe so deeply, and I felt super connected to myself and to the universe. In that class with the stretching, I was able to move into the stretches like never before, really deep deep soul stretching.

There was one side of my body that wasn’t connected with the other part and when the Biodynamic Cranial Sacral therapist started moving that I also started working with Open Door Yoga classes too, so I started moving the energy and unblocking deeply held places. I started doing the yin yoga and Tomas’ class. Those two classes really helped to fortify and move my body more. The stretching and the breathing kept opening me up more and more. Then I started doing some more training in IBP with Maecan Campell, and the three combined were magical and insurmountable in being able to get to the places that were held, because IBP also uses a lot of breathing and movement in similar ways to yin yoga.

Maya: Could you describe the process in a BCST session. What literally happens from the moment the sessions begins, how does the therapist work with your body? Could you relate a specific experience of yours to us?

Deanna: The therapist starts with my sacrum. She puts her hand on my sacrum and she says that she is just there inside of me, that she becomes aware of and witness to what’s going on inside me, of everything, the spinal fluid, my organs, my skin, she can feel it and she is in constant communication with me and I communicate with her, and I notice, just notice what is moving and what isn’t moving and what hurts and what doesn’t hurt. I notice that suddenly my arm hurts, there is a pulsing pain, not horrible pain, it is achey. I notice that one side of my body is very full of energy and active and the other side isn’t at all. There is nothing going on on the other side. And over time my energy starts to shift and move and I can feel my leg that wasn’t moving at all filled with energy suddenly, and it’s like when your foot has fallen asleep and the blood starts flowing again, it’s like that. It kind of pushes through. It tightens up then it releases. And it happens all the time as she is working. Then she moves once the area has moved as much as it’s going to move. She moves up higher. She can move underneath my shoulder blades, then she stays with that for a while, and the last time she got up to my cranium, and I felt for a long time nothing was happening then suddenly the left side started to get really strong and active, and then it moved into my right. I’ve had a paralysis on my right side so it moved into my right and started to pulse through my face and my head, and my face started twitching. And she’s not doing anything outwardly, she’s not massaging or anything, just holding me, but my whole face started to twitch and energy pulsed through my face. Ever since then my ear that had been damaged has been healed. I had a fluttering in my ear, and the fluttering in my ear has gone ever since then. With BCST I have also had serious emotional release as well as physical, because it does move held places, deep places. Then I’d get into Integrated Body therapy with Maecan Campbell, and instantly almost where I left off with BCST I would get to, that held place that she found.

Maya: Could you describe the process of IBP. How is your body worked with in conjunction with psychotherapy?

Deanna: With IBP you do a lot of series of breathing exercises and movement which help you to get really quickly to trauma, to whatever needs to be worked on, unfinished business. The last session I started with the breathing exercises and started getting a twitch in my hand and a heaviness in my chest and instantly found thoughts of my mother, and I hadn’t worked with my mother before at all in therapy, so it was a surprise. But with IBP it comes so strongly, the feelings are so strong and you work very closely with the therapist and the therapist is there to really help you look inside you and go gently and breathe and help you to really be with yourself and notice what’s going on, and notice if there is any pain or discomfort to release. You are just being with it. So when I was with the feeling in my chest and noticing this, when I had to speak instantly, I was fourteen again and with my therapist I worked through unfinished business with my mother.

Maya: With IBP, what kind of physical movements and breathing are you guided into?

Deanna: You start with making a physical boundary. I have a boundary and Maecan has a boundary around her. It’s a lot about personal boundary and space and moving energy. So then you lay down on the ground with your knees up so your feet are grounded. Then you start with raising your arms up above your head and following them with your eyes, and breathing in and then quick release breathing out. You do that a bunch of times until you stop, and the therapist asks you to be aware of what is happening and to communicate what is happening, if anything is coming up for you. And usually right away you’ve got a lot more oxygen flowing through the body. There are lots of other exercises too. Then you go arms into the chest and out from the chest, and pushing down on your chest, every time breathing and pushing the air out. There’s another exercise after that, a throat release. You stick your tongue out as you are breathing in, and you make a sound as you breath out, whatever comes out of your mouth. And every time you are checking in with what is going on and often for some reason you’ll find yourself crying, just feeling your body, feeling the emotions in your body that you just don’t feel every day. It is something to do with the exercises and the oxygen and the connection with the therapist. It somehow brings up the emotions and whatever is stuck, whatever is held in your body comes out. Another exercise is lifting the hips up and down, breathing in as hips go up and out as they come down. By the end of it so many different things have happened to me, I remember one time I had done this immense amount of clearing mostly to do with the throat release exercise, and I looked so unbelievably glowing and alive and youthful. But at the beginning I was tired and haggard and crinkley, just a mess, and by the end of it I was so vibrant. It was incredibly amazing the difference.

Maya: Can you do these exercises on your own, or do you find they are only as dynamically useful in a therapy session?

Deanna: I’ve tried to do the exercises on my own and I’ve got a lot of energy and personal power from doing it on my own, but there is something about having a therapist there that lends a lot of energy. Somehow her witnessing my process lends energy and power to releasing and being able to really get into it, and make more connections that bring more awareness. There is something about another person being witness to my process that brings out everything that I need to work on. Also some similar reasons to be at Open Door yoga, because you are convening with others and your energy is intensified by the attention of a therapist (the teacher), that knows what they’re doing and has done their own personal work and can help to guide you through your personal work. It’s a very different experience to doing yoga by yourself. Probably the same with meditation. I’ve never done it with a group but I imagine it is a lot more intense than doing it on your own, I think it goes along with what I’m saying. If you were meditating with a yogi you’d probably be guided to a higher level of meditation. I think of Maecan as a shaman to me. That she exemplifies a higher realm of energy and helps draw that out in me instantly.

Currently it feels like there is this combination of holistic therapy that is really moving me forward into the next stage of my life.

Thank you Deanna!

Contact info for all therapies discussed:

BCST Agnes Hombach, CST and Shiatsu
ahombach@hotmail.com, 604 312 9073

Maecan Campbell
604 730 1174

Deanna Defrietas
778 887 9667

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga, Student Profile

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